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The unequal benefits of activation: an analysis of the social distribution of family policy among families with young children

Journal of European Social Policy , Volume 21 (5): 472 – Dec 1, 2011

Details

Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0958-9287
eISSN
1461-7269
D.O.I.
10.1177/0958928711418853
Publisher site
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The unequal benefits of activation: an analysis of the social distribution of family policy among families with young children

Abstract

In the last few decades, measures to reconcile work and family life have risen in mutual interaction with a rising rate of dual earnership. However, dual earnership has (to date) been adopted in a socially uneven way in most European societies. Therefore, one may wonder whether the activation measures have brought about a loss of vertical redistribution in welfare states. We address this question by focusing on the interaction of three measures of family policy and their overall distributional effect in Europe, with the Belgian region of Flanders as the case in point. We develop a fine-grained analysis to reveal the budgetary impact of the variation in use and generosity, and find that today in Flanders the redistributive effect of child benefits is largely undone by subsidized childcare and parental leave benefits. If parents’ employment is to be generalized, this case study suggests that more attention is required regarding the universal use of reconciliation measures.
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